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Thursday 10 September
Eleven major UK cities have unveiled a new,
high-speed rail campaign.
HSR||UK was launched by leaders from Birmingham, Bristol,
Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester,
Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield, who believe that not only will
such a network link centres of economic development in the UK, but
that it will also connect to the high-speed network already in
existence in Europe.
"What today's launch has shown is that Leeds and its partners
are firmly agreed that the UK needs a full network of High Speed
lines that link its core cities," said Cllr Barry Anderson, who
represented Leeds at the launch.
"Our own research has shown that a high-speed rail link serving
Sheffield and Leeds could result in over £30bn of benefits,
so a network that includes all of our main centres could generate
many times that amount for the UK economy."
Yesterday David Rowlands, who was appointed by the Government to
draw up proposals for high-speed rail routes to the North said,
"The initial work that we have done already certainly suggests that
there would be a case to have a network that includes cities
whether in Yorkshire or the North East.
He said his organisation would be giving the Government a number
of options for a network, and said that a cross-Pennine route
through a tunnel could be one possibility.
"In looking at the options for a network we're clearly taking
into account places like Sheffield and Leeds," he added.
A recent report commissioned by Metro and South Yorkshire
Passenger Transport Executive, prepared by Arup with economic
specialist Volterra, concluded that a high-speed rail link via
Yorkshire could provide between £1.5bn and £3bn of
productivity benefits to the economy in addition to transport
benefits of around £29bn.
High speed rail would also increase the capacity of rail
services across the UK, by freeing up capacity on the conventional
railway for short distance local travel and for freight.
"We are calling upon the Government to draw up a comprehensive
strategy which shows how a just such a high-speed network can be
developed," continued Cllr Anderson. "At the same time, it must
ensure our all-important existing main lines continue to receive
the investment needed to increase capacity and improve
Leeds journey times to London could be reduced to one hour and
22 minutes (compared to a current time of two hours and 26 minutes)
and London to Scotland journey times could be reduced to two hours
and 38 minutes (compared with a current time of four hours and 30
minutes between London Euston and Glasgow Central).
Download the high-speed rail report (pdf, 228k)